From the moment of conception a child’s life is a whirlwind of change and development. These many changes bring along their own challenges and it can be helpful to have a range of supportive “tools” to address the issues. Craniosacral Therapy is one such tool and is ideal for babies and children since the touch is extremely gentle and is carried out fully clothed. The treatment develops out of what the practitioner feels in the client – so the client, of any age, totally directs the session. Nothing is “done to them”. This is vitally important when working with a child who may understandably have little control over some aspects of their life and wellbeing. Craniosacral Therapy enables them to begin the important process of being aware of, and responsible for their own physical and emotional health. It is not necessary for words to be used to convey how the treatment is being experienced, so it is ideal for babies and children with no, or limited speech.
An important aspect of Sheila’s work with children is that she believes that it is imperative to consider that the child who has come for treatment is not an isolated individual, but is part of a family unit. Therefore her treatments are always carried out with family members present in order to acknowledge and work with the whole family dynamic. One effect of this is that parents and siblings may also directly experience the benefits of the treatment! Working in this way is an effective way to promote bonding and relationship within the family unit.
It is necessary for babies and children to feel safe and comfortable with the treatment. if a positive outcome is to be achieved. This is another excellent reason for working with the family group, and not just the child alone. So babies may feed, or be cuddled. Older children might snuggle up with Mum or Dad, or can play happily with the toys in the room. Contact is always negotiated and agreed upon, and the actual contact can be very brief and is extremely light. Therefore children are usually very happy to have treatment, and look forward to their sessions. Unlike adults, who can be very entrenched in patterns of behaviour and ill health, children can make positive changes really quickly. Therefore it is unlikely that your child will need more than three or four sessions, and often they make huge steps to sort themselves out at the first session! There will be situations where a longer series of ongoing treatments can be useful e.g when working with children on the autistic spectrum – this would be discussed at the initial consultation
Many parents bring their babies along for a session in the weeks after birth not because they are experiencing any particular problems, but as an acknowledgment of the impressive journey they have made so far. The treatment has been used by many parents when their baby has had a long or difficult birth; if it is sleeping poorly; if it cries a lot; if their baby is not feeding easily, comfortably or well. Parents have also chosen to come along with toddlers who: do not sleep well; socialise poorly; are not reaching their developmental milestones; have hearing problems; have had an accident, injury or operation; are poorly coordinated; just don’t seem to be thriving. As children get older they have been brought into the clinic : if they are not fitting in easily and happily at home or school (this may be because of ADHD, autism, chronic health conditions etc.) ; after accidents, operations or illnesses when they just don’t seem to bounce back; because their parents have a gut feeling that their child is not doing as well as he or she could. Pregnant women are not ill, but their bodies are undergoing enormous changes very swiftly. Sheila taught antenatal classes for the National Childbirth Trust for 20 years and retains a deep interest in, and understanding of, the challenges of the ante and post natal periods. She uses both Craniosacral Therapy and Therapeutic Massage to help women to address the physical and emotional issues of these periods. Pregnant women attend for help with pregnancy nausea; sciatica and symphysis pubis disorder (SPD); tiredness; the general aches and pains associated with a rapidly changing body. Many also come “just” to be nurtured and supported during such a special time in their lives. Sheila is happy to teach partners and birth supporters massage skills for labour, and also to teach parents simple massage to use with their babies and children.